Hot prowl burglary

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A hot prowl burglary is a sub-type of burglary in which the offender enters a building or residence while occupants are inside the location. The overarching intent of a hot prowl burglary can be theft, robbery, sexual assault, murder, or another crime.

Hot prowl burglaries are considered especially dangerous by law enforcement because of the potential for a violent altercation to erupt between the occupant and the offender.[1]

Notable examples[edit]

The Lindbergh Kidnapping - In 1932, one-year-old Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr. was kidnapped from his family's home in East Amwell, New Jersey and later murdered. The offender perpetrated the crime by using a ladder to enter a second floor bedroom of the Lindbergh residence while the family was asleep. Bruno Hauptmann, a German immigrant, was convicted of kidnapping and murdering the infant. He was executed by electrocution in 1936. The case received international attention and was considered "the crime of the century" because the victim's father was famed aviator Charles Lindbergh.

The BTK Killer - Between 1974 and 1991, a series of sexual assaults and murders was carried out in the Wichita, Kansas area. In most of the attacks, the offender broke into or forced his way into a residence, then killed one or more people. Dennis Rader, a compliance officer for the city of Park City, Kansas, was arrested for the BTK murders in 2005. Rader pleaded guilty to the crimes and is serving a life sentence.

The Original Night Stalker - Also known by the monikers "East Area Rapist," the "Diamond Knot Killer," and more recently the "Golden State Killer," is a serial killer and rapist who was active in California in the 1970s and 1980s. The Original Night Stalker is known to have murdered ten people in Orange, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties between 1979 and 1986. In 2001, a criminalist with the Orange County Sheriff's Department linked the Original Night Stalker to over fifty rapes which were committed in northern California between 1976 and 1979. The Original Night Stalker's modus operandi was to break into the homes of his victims in the middle of the night, then attack them as they slept. On April 25, 2018, Sacramento Police announced the arrest of a suspect in the case; 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder.[2]

The Night Stalker - A series of murders, rapes, and robberies plagued the Los Angeles, California area in the mid-1980s. In all, twelve murders were committed in southern California as part of this series. Ultimately, the Los Angeles-area crimes were connected to two murders in San Francisco, California. In 1989, a Texas-born drug addict and convicted car thief named Richard Ramirez was convicted of the Night Stalker crimes. Ramirez died of complications secondary to B-cell lymphoma at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, California, on June 7, 2013, after 23 years of incarceration at San Quentin State Prison.

The Clutter Family Murders - In 1959, a quadruple murder rocked the small town of Holcomb, Kansas. The victims were a rancher named Herb Clutter and his wife Bonnie, as well as their two children Nancy and Kenyon. The offenders, who were later identified as Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, broke into the rural Clutter home with the intent of robbing the owner. After taking a small sum of money and a few of the Clutters' belongings, Hickock and Smith tied up the family in various parts of the house.

Eventually, Smith slashed Herb Clutter's throat and shot Kenyon with a shotgun. There is some question as to whether Hickock or Smith murdered Bonnie and Nancy Clutter, but nevertheless, both females were killed by shotgun blasts. Both Hickock and Smith were executed by hanging on April 14, 1965. The story of the Clutter Family Murders was immortalized by Truman Capote in the classic true crime book In Cold Blood.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dubin said such cases, which involve a burglar breaking into a home while occupants are inside, are particularly worrisome for law enforcement because of their potential for violent confrontation."
  2. ^